Earthworms are the friends of farmers. They not only aerate the soil but also help in producing vermicompost, a valuable resource for improving soil fertility. Vermicompost is becoming increasingly popular among farmers, as a source of soil fertility and also as a source of income generation.
Vermicomposting for building soil fertility
by A S Ninawe, Leisa India, 01 June, 2008
Use of chemicals over years has resulted in impoverishing soils of organic matter and micro-organisms. SVARAJ through its action research reiterates that it is possible to reclaim degraded lands with simple, eco-friendly practices like application of compost and vermicompost, mulching and polyculture cropping.
Reclaiming earthly smell and livelihoods - SVARAJ\'s experience
by L C Nagaraj, Leisa India, 01 June, 2008
Shyam Mohan Tyagi can\'t stop feeling jubilant. As he surveys hispaddy field, there is a distinct glint in his eyes. It is puzzling because his crop looks exactly the same as those in adjacent fields. Tyagi is quick to explain the difference: the paddy in his field has been nurtured on a diet of urine and decomposed human faeces. He has stopped using fertilizers since 2006. Tyagi collects urine and decomposed faeces from the special community toilet in his village Asalatpur in Uttar Pradesh\'s Ghaziabad district. It is a dry toilet that separates excreta, urine and water, so that waste can be used as manure with little treatment. It is called ecosan, short for ecological sanitation. Selling the idea of ecosan toilets to the villagers was not easy. When Delhi- based NGO Foundation of Development Research and Action, that set up the toilet in 2005, proposed making use of the collected waste, there were no takers except Tyagi, a 30-year-old history postgraduate. Many farmers use human waste as manure but they baulked at the idea of spraying urine on food crops.
Collector\'s item
by R K Srinivasan, Down to Earth, 16 November, 2008
Excessive use of inorganic fertilizers and pesticides has affected soil and water quality in the Jaffna peninsula, Sri Lanka. Students from the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Jaffna have been learning about green manures from farmers, and how they have been used to improve soils. Green manures were also used successfully to rehabilitate salinated soils affected by the tsunami. These and other organic practices are now being promoted with and by farmers.
Green manures: Nature\'s gift to improve soil fertility
by Arulanandam Vakeesan, Tharshani Nishanthan and Gunasingham Mikunthan, Leisa India, 01 June, 2008
Organic Farming

Report of the National Workshop on "Organic Farming: Shaping the Post-Green-Revolution Agriculture" organised by Centre for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA) and OXFAM, June 2008